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Ida (2013)

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Ida (a sublime Agata Trzebuchowska) is a novitiate in 1960s Poland, who receives a letter from an aunt she barely knows.  The mother superior allows Ida the rare opportunity to leave the cloistered convent and make peace with this relative.  The young nun at first disapproves of her aunt’s libertine lifestyle, and fierce defense of communism. (The aunt, a government prosecutor, after all, is known as Red Wanda).


Wanda is played with gusto by Agata Kulesza.  Ida's visit becomes a journey of discovery.  She learns the true identity of her parents, and what happened to them.  If this weren’t enough, the temptations outside the convent – yes, the film shows that, even in grim Cold War Poland, a somewhat lively café lifestyle existed – prove difficult to resist.


Ida is shot in a pristine and beautiful Black & White. It is difficult to decide whether  Ida's and Wanda's relationship form the fulcrum of the picture or, whether the meditation on faith, quite profound, is the driving force. Both themes compete against and complement each other.  Ida is a polarizing film, as well it should be.  Polish with English subtitles.  Masterfully directed by Pawel Pawlikowski.


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